Rice is one of the most important food crops of the world, feeding nearly 2.5 billion people. By the year 2020, the number of rice consumers will be almost double. It is estimated that 60% more rice needs to be produced with less land, less water, and less labor. Attacks by insect pests, sheath blight and bacterial blight, and abiotic stresses can cause yield losses in rice equivalent to 200 million tons (Table 22.1).1,2 Crop protection plays a vital and integral role in sustainable rice production. Pesticide applications worldwide are now estimated to cost approximately US $8.1 billion per annum and Japan tops the list of pesticide users (Tables 22.2 and 22.3).3 This tremendous use of pesticides has reduced the effective life span of some compounds. It has also led to serious environmental consequences and concerns for human health.4 In addition to integrated pest management (IPM), crop rotation and resistant crops through genetically engineered rice varieties would appear to be the best options for environmentally friendly sustainable agriculture (Tables 22.4 and 22.5).5 Transgenic Bt rice conferring resistance to stem borer,5-8 bacterial blight resistance (Fig. 22.1),9 sheath blight resistance,10,11 and stripe virus resistance12 have been developed. Transgenic resistant plants would produce more yield while growing with fewer agrochemicals, particularly pesticides.
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